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Volume 22, Issue 2 (March 2020) 22, 129–133; 10.4103/aja.aja_59_19

Syringoceles of Cowper's ducts and glands in adult men

Simon Bugeja, Anastasia Frost, Stella Ivaz, Mariya Dragova, Daniela E Andrich, Anthony R Mundy

Reconstructive Urology Unit, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London NW1 2PG, UK

Correspondence: Dr. S Bugeja (simbugi@gmail.com)



Cowper's syringoceles are uncommon, usually described in children and most commonly limited to the ducts. We describe more complex variants in an adult population affecting with varying degrees of severity, the glands themselves, and the complications they may lead to. One hundred consecutive urethrograms of patients with unreconstructed strictures were reviewed. Twenty-six patients (mean age: 41.1 years) with Cowper's syringoceles who were managed between 2009 and 2016 were subsequently evaluated. Presentation, radiological appearance, treatment (when indicated), and outcomes were assessed. Of 100 urethrograms in patients with strictures, 33.0% demonstrated filling of Cowper's ducts or glands, occurring predominantly in patients with bulbar strictures. Only 1 of 26 patients with non-bulbar strictures had a visible duct/gland. Of 26 symptomatic patients, 15 presented with poor flow. In four patients, a grossly dilated Cowper's duct obstructed the urethra. In the remaining 11 patients, a bulbar stricture caused the symptoms and the syringocele was identified incidentally. Eight patients presented with perineal pain. In six of them, fluoroscopy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed complex multicystic lesions within the bulbourethral glands. Four patients developed perineoscrotal abscesses. In the 11 patients with strictures, the syringocele was no longer visible after urethroplasty. In three of four patients with urethral obstruction secondary to a dilated Cowper's duct, this resolved after transperineal excision (n = 2) and endoscopic deroofing (n = 1). Five of six patients with complex syringoceles involving Cowper's glands were excised surgically with symptomatic relief in all. In conclusion, Cowper's syringocele in adults is more common than previously thought and may cause lower urinary tract symptoms or be associated with serious complications which usually require surgical treatment.

Keywords: complications; Cowper's glands; syringocele; treatment; urethral stricture

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